Vendors are Unhappy with Proposed Changes to Farmers Market

By: Dave Byknish Email
By: Dave Byknish Email

WAYNESBORO, Va. -- At a public hearing, Dwayne Jones, the director of Parks and Recreation, discussed proposed renovations to Constitution Park.

“The thing we like to encourage and focus on is we've got big plans for major improvements into the park and I think all would agree something needs to happen in that area,” said Jones.

Those proposed renovations would dismantle and repurpose the pavilion the Waynesboro Farmers Market currently uses. A new area would open in a nearby parking lot where vendors could put up tents to sell their wares.

“Having the market right near the parking does make sense. But the pop-up tents don't work well. As you can see, it's a windy location here. And particularly in afternoons during the summer when thunderstorms pop up, there's real concerns there,” said Jim Coate, the Waynesboro Farmers Market manager.

Gerri Carrillo, a vendor at the Waynesboro Farmers Market, said these renovations are a setback to the farmers market.

“In my mind, moving forward, this farmers market is going to become more of a necessity, moving forward. To put us back three pegs just doesn't make a lot of sense,” said Carrillo.

City officials said because the market is a temporary use type of situation, they can weigh their tents down or move the time of the market to earlier in the day.

Coates said one of the original ideas when the pavilion was built in 1996 was for a farmers market.

“It's at a time when farmers markets in general are growing and we're growing. So, we expect to be able to be growing. We expect to be able to enlarge the market, provided we have a home to be in,” said Coate.

The pavilion is expected to come down in 2014, giving the farmers market one more season to function normally. City officials said the tent system is already very successful in Staunton.


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